Valentin Blatz, Beer Baron

Valentin Blatz

Born October 1, 1826, Miltenburg, Germany

Died May 26, 1894, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Valentin Blatz, a German émigré, settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1849.  Blatz had worked in his father’s Bavarian brewery and others and plied the trade he knew from his youth in Milwaukee.  After having worked at a brewery, which was operated by Johann Braun, Blatz started his own brewery next door.  In 1851, Braun was thrown from a beer wagon and died.  Blatz married Braun’s widow, Louisa, and consolidated the two breweries establishing the Blatz Brewing Company.  What started out as two small breweries grew to be the third largest brewery in Milwaukee.  The buildings where the beer was brewed covered over four city blocks.  Blatz introduced bottled beer in 1874, an innovation we still enjoy to this day!

Blatz died of a heart attack on his way back from a trip to California with his wife, Louisa.  The Milwaukee Sentinel, Sunday May 27, 1894, headline read: VALENTIN BLATZ DEAD: Heart Disease Carries Off the Well-Known Brewer; SUDDENLY STRICKEN AT HOTEL RYAN, ST. PAUL.  The article went on, “Mr. Blatz and His Wife Were Returning From California on Their Way to Milwaukee-His Family Here Shocked by the Sudden Intelligence- Mr. Blatz Was One of the City’s Wealthiest Men–Started in a Very Small Way Back in the Fifties and Built Up a Vast Business.” Valentin Blatz was survived by his wife, Louisa, and five children—John, Louise, Valentine, Albert, and Emil.

Valentin Blatz was buried in the Forest Home Cemetery at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The Blatz Mausoleum, the largest in the state of Wisconsin, was built in 1896 from Barre, Vermont granite.  The massive and imposing mausoleum is 40 feet tall, 38 feet long and 30 feet wide, weighing 525 tons.

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